Idle Fancies, Lucid Dreams and Startling Memories: Remembering as a Form of Active Spectatorship

Conference paper: How Performance Thinks. PSi Performance & Philosophy Working Group and Kingston University’s Practice.Research.Unit. (pp70-76)

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In this paper I exercise an idea about remembering as a form of active spectatorship. Remembering in this context is intrinsically linked to perception, the thing that the spectator does. First, using Ivana Müller’s performance Playing Ensemble Again and Again (2008) as an example, I examine the strategy of temporal interference in contemporary performance and how it produces a delay in the spectator’s perception. I argue, perching on the shoulders of Henri Bergson that this delay extends perception, because it allows an increased multitude of interposed and unpredictable memories to come to the surface to interpret the perceived materials. These startling memories, referred to in the title, produce undeterminable, unforeseen and genuinely new responses for the spectator. I conclude the paper by proposing some implications that the idea of theatre as a vehicle for extended perception might provoke.

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